We've wrapped up our live coverage for the day. You can read more about Russia's war in Ukraine here, or scroll through the posts below.
September 29, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news
By Tara Subramaniam, Sophie Tanno and Aditi Sangal, CNN
Ukrainian citizens are able to enter and exit Russia without visas by using their Ukrainian documents, according to a Russian decree that took effect Friday.
According to the decree, signed by President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian citizens can cross the Russian border by using their Ukrainian passport, a diplomatic or service passport, a sailor's identity card or an aircraft crew member's card.
For children who may be traveling, a birth certificate or a passport of a legal representative with information about the child will be required.
The decree also makes it possible for Ukrainian citizens to enter and exit Russia even if their documents have expired.
Another decree that was signed by the Russian president and took effect on Friday makes the process of obtaining Russia citizenship easier for some individuals, especially if they are citizens of former Soviet states.
Foreigners who have signed a contract for military service in the Russian Armed Forces for a period of at least one year will also be able to obtain citizenship in a simplified manner. At the same time, the list of crimes for which the acquired citizenship may be terminated has increased. Some of the crimes include desertion, discrediting the Russian Armed Forces and calls for extremism.
On Friday, Putin also signed a decree on the beginning of the autumn conscription into the military. As part of the autumn conscription, 130,000 people will be called up for service.
Ukraine's occupied regions will be included for the first time in a new round of Russian conscriptions, Russia's defense ministry announced Friday.
Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with former Wagner commander Andrey Troshev, according to a statement published by the Kremlin on Friday.
Here are the latest developments:
- Fall conscription: Fall conscription will begin from October 1 in all parts of the Russian Federation, including in the illegally annexed regions of Ukraine, Russia's defense ministry announced Friday. In some regions of the Far North, the conscription will begin on November 1 due to the climate differences.
- Putin meeting: Putin met with former Wagner commander Troshev, the Kremlin has said. The Russian leader said that he wanted to discuss “social guarantees” for anyone who had fought to “defend the fatherland,” according to a partial transcript of the meeting.
- Military aid: France is stepping up its support to Ukraine by setting up industrial partnerships between the two countries. French defence minister Sebastian Lecornu said France would “offer innovative solutions to the Ukrainian army and increasingly be in a position to make fewer transfers, but rather direct acquisitions, sometimes under French subsidy, for the Ukrainian army.”
- China visit: Putin will discuss important strategic issues with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his upcoming visit to China, Beijing's ambassador to Moscow told Russian state news agency TASS on Friday. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the dates for Putin's visit to China have been set but have not been announced.
- Kursk attack: Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed that it was behind the attack on an electrical substation in Russia's Kursk region on Friday, according to sources. The security service said the substation was struck because it provided electricity to important Russian military facilities, sources said.
- Mykolaiv missile strike: A Russian missile attack struck an infrastructure facility on the outskirts of Mykolaiv early Friday, the southern Ukrainian city's mayor said. "Dry grass went on fire there, the fire was extinguished," Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych said in a post on Telegram.
- Trafficked children appeal: Ukrainian authorities are calling on ordinary Russians to oppose the forced deportation of children to Russia and help bring them home to Ukraine. The mass deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia or Russian-occupied territories over the course of the war have resulted in the International Criminal Court issuing arrest warrants for Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova and Putin.
The British government announced on Friday new sanctions in response to Russian sham elections in occupied parts of Ukraine.
The UK imposed asset freezes and travel bans on Russian officials involved in the recent sham elections in the Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk, and in illegally annexed Crimea, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said in a statement.
In addition to the specific individuals, which include the secretary of the Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) Natalya Budarina, sanctions were also imposed on the commission as an entity as well.
"Russia’s sham elections are a transparent, futile attempt to legitimize its illegal control of sovereign Ukrainian territory. You can’t hold ‘elections’ in someone else’s country," UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said. "The UK will never recognize Russia’s claims to Ukrainian territory."
"Russia has sought to destroy Ukrainian culture and identity in a bid to strengthen its illegitimate claim to Ukrainian territory, including by forcible issue of Russian passports, and imposition of Russian law, media, education, and currency," the FCDO added. "These elections are another violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and of the UN Charter."
The latest package of sanctions comes ahead of a new commemoration day in Russia that President Vladimir Putin has declared to celebrate the anniversary of his annexations, "despite Russia having no legitimate basis for any claim to Ukrainian territory," FCDO said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday honored the victims of Nazi mass shootings in occupied Kyiv during World War II, according to his office.
Zelensky took part in a ceremony at the National Historical Memorial Preserve Babyn Yar in Kyiv to mark the 82nd anniversary of the tragedy.
"Babyn Yar will always be on the map of Holocaust memory," Zelensky said in a message on social media. "No matter how many years have passed, humanity will remember the lives taken by Nazism."
About 100,000 people — Jews, Roma and Ukrainians — were killed in Babyn Yar during the Nazi occupation, he said.
"Never again. For Ukraine, these words matter. And they will continue to do so," he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss important strategic issues with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his upcoming visit to China, Beijing's ambassador to Moscow told Russian state news agency TASS on Friday.
"At the summit, our leaders will discuss all current and key issues of bilateral cooperation, as well as our strategic interaction in the international arena. This is very important," Zhang Hanhui said.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the dates for Putin's visit to China have been set but have not been announced.
On September 20, during a meeting with Chinese officials, Putin said he gladly accepted Xi's invitation to visit China in October for the Belt and Road Forum.
Some context: Russia and China recently hailed their cooperation ahead of Putin's Beijing visit. During a meeting in Moscow on Monday, Russia and China’s top diplomats discussed strengthening their international cooperation.
The two countries would continue “well-coordinated work” at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and other summits and high level meetings, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told visiting Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in opening remarks.
Fall conscription will begin from October 1 in all parts of the Russian Federation, including in the illegally annexed regions of Ukraine, Russia's defense ministry announced Friday.
In some regions of the Far North, the conscription will begin on November 1 due to the climate differences, Rear Admiral Vladimir Tsimlyansky, deputy chief of the Main Organizational and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said during a briefing.
“The autumn conscription will take place from October 1 in all constituent entities of the Russian Federation," Tsimlyansky said.
"The exception is certain regions of the Far North and certain areas equated to regions of the Far North, where citizens living in these territories are conscripted for military service from November 1 to December 31. This is primarily due to the climatic characteristics of these territories."
The departure of conscripts from collection points is scheduled to begin on October 16, he said. “The term of conscription military service, as before, will be 12 months,” Tsimlyansky said.
The conscription for military service in what Moscow claims are Russia's the new regions is regulated by a so-called constitutional law on admission to the Russian Federation, according to state news agency TASS.
According to the law, the autumn 2023 conscription will include the annexed territories – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – for the first time. There was no conscription for military service last year and in the spring of 2023 in these regions, according to TASS.
While regular conscriptions will be carried out, Russia has no plans for further mobilizations, Tsimlyansky, said.
Some context: Conscriptions in Russia happen twice per year. Last fall’s conscription began a month later than usual due to bottlenecks at conscription offices amid a partial mobilization, according to TASS.
France is stepping up its support to Ukraine by setting up industrial partnerships between the two countries.
“By definition, a counter-offensive on a 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) front takes time, so we need patience, confidence and endurance,” defense minister Sebastien Lecornu told journalists during a visit in Kyiv on Thursday.
Lecornu was heading a delegation of lawmakers and business leaders from various combat industries, ranging from drones, robots linked to drones, artillery, munitions and artificial intelligence.
The French minister met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the country’s new defense minister Rustem Umerov.
Lecornu said France would “offer innovative solutions to the Ukrainian army and increasingly be in a position to make fewer transfers, but rather direct acquisitions, sometimes under French subsidy, for the Ukrainian army.”
“It's a way for us to maintain our position over the long term and establish French interests in Kyiv on a long-term basis,” Lecornu added.
Speaking separately to French public radio France Info, Lecornu said that "as the war is going to last, the transfer of equipment from the French armed forces - but not only the French - has, by definition, its limits.”
The defense minister said France was “going to withdraw a lot of old equipment from the French army in favor of much newer equipment, which we'll be able to give to Ukraine.”
“Nevertheless, if we want to last,” the minister said, “we need to be able to ‘connect’ French manufacturers directly with the Ukrainian army.”
“So these are also opportunities for French industries. I'm sorry to say it like that, but we have to recognize that too,” he told France Info.
Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed that it was behind the attack on an electrical substation in Russia's Kursk region on Friday, according to sources.
The security service said the substation was struck because it provided electricity to important Russian military facilities, sources said.
The security service implied that if Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure continue, then Kyiv's forces would respond in kind, sources added.
Earlier, Kursk's governor said five settlements and a hospital lost power in the southwest region bordering Ukraine following a drone strike.
Russia’s Defense Ministry also claimed earlier Friday that its air defenses had destroyed 10 Ukrainian drones over Kursk and one over the Kaluga region southwest of Moscow.
No casualties have been reported.